If you, like us, were loving your workout routine pre-Covid19, this lockdown may have taken the wind out of your sails. Whether your 2020 goal was toning, weight-loss, muscle-build, or just to increase your fitness and stamina, you might be thinking you'll have to apply the brakes to those goals now.
But hold those horses. Here’s the good news: home workouts and live-streamed class options just got a whole lot better - no need at all to put that routine on the back-burner. In fact, when it comes to on-demand and live-stream home workouts, things have become very interesting indeed.
How? Here at MoveGB, our new Move at Home platform enables you to access 1000s of ace workouts from across the country right from your very own ‘isolation station’. It’s already become the UK's largest live-stream workout platform and loads of brand new classes are being added each day.
That said, we are coming across some misconceptions when it comes to fitness equipment though. You don’t need loads of fancy gear with all the bells and whistles to stay active. Most home workouts don’t require expensive or hard-to-find equipment, and some don’t require anything except yourself and that positive attitude to keep fit. Don't let the lack of fitness equipment put you off getting active - there are SO many hacks and substitutions!
Here’s what we recommend as a starting point for building your very own fitness palace.
Fitness equipment to turn your home into an ace workout space
Gaze into your space
Before you even start thinking about buying any kit, make sure you have enough room to start your new home exercise routine. Or figure out how to create an area which will be capable of dealing with your windmilling arms and high-kicks.
Now that your home is your new office, your child’s school, and basically everything else that the outside world used to be, it’s a good idea to distinguish your exercise space from your normal living space. This will help put you in the right mindset and motivate you to get up and workout.
As home fitness expert instructor, Alex Croxford, says, “You don’t need much room at all - it’s easy to work out in your living room, as all you need is enough space for your body to move around... but do move any expensive belongings or family collectables out of the space first.”
Clear out any clutter, push things back against the wall or haul them into another room if you can. Maybe carve out a space in your living room, make use of that spare bedroom or nursery, or even outdoor space if you have it (the magic of WiFi lends a helping hand there!). A 2m x 2m is normally easily sufficient for your home moves.
Once you have space in place, you’re ready to get going!
When a yoga mat is more than just a humble yoga mat
Even though we believe you don’t have to buy much kit (like yoga balls, weights, pilates stretch bands etc), there is one thing we think it is worth getting: a yoga mat. But a yoga mat is not just a yoga mat. Oh no. Actually it’s as flexible as the best yogis.
A yoga mat will relieve pressure on your joints as you’re jumping around in a Boxercise class; protect your back as you sit up for that 100th crunch and will stop any (re)occurrence of carpet burn as you slide around to your favourite Animal Flow. And once you’ve finished, you can just roll it up and store it somewhere convenient. It’s a small piece of exercise equipment that will have a mighty impact on your home workouts.
Yoga mats are helpfully inexpensive and available at online stores like Amazon or eBay. They will also be useful after quarantine is over, whether you decide to go straight back to live group classes or stick with online classes (or maybe a lovely blend of both!).
Paper plates or socks!
Pilates-based classes and resistance training can make use of your bodyweight with handy paper plates or socks!
Depending on what flooring you have, either pop on socks (if you have wooden, smooth floors) or perch your tip toes on paper plates (if you have carpet) and practice smart moves to maximise these basic fitness tools.
From mountain climbers to burpees, you can keep your feet on the ground to avoid disturbing your neighbours if they live below you. Engage your core and focus on controlling your moves as you slide your feet in, out, around your body.
Look up 'glider workouts' or 'DIY strength slides' to see more hacks on using these in your fitness routine. our favourites include Shape's Paper Plate Home Workout Routine and this killer butt and legs workout using paper plates.
Dumbbells or tinned beans, you decide
If you’re looking to tone or build muscle so that when you’re allowed to leave the house again you still have the strength to deal with the outside world, you may want to try some strength-building classes.
While a lot of classes, like this CALISTHENICS from Functional Fitness in Bristol will use your body weight to build muscle and improve strength, others like Brave Tone may prefer you to have dumbbells, kettlebells, or other forms of hand weights.
Dumbbells and kettlebells are pretty cheap and easy to store away. But if you don’t like a cluttered house or you don’t want to splash any cash, then most fitness instructors recommend you to substitute weights for anything around your home that is weighty and easy to grip in one hand, like a can of beans!
While it might be harder to find those after the panic buyers have raided your local supermarket, why not get some large water bottles and fill them to the brim to get some resistance to your home training? Keep an eagle eye on Amazon and eBay for dumbbells and kettlebells as they slowly get restocked.
Make great (social) connections
With a worldwide need to keep not only physical wellbeing at an optimum, but also mental health in good shape, online fitness classes have become more accessible than ever before.
Here’s another myth debunked: you don’t need the fanciest apps or the latest hardware or devices in order to enjoy the camaraderie of an online group class.
People from all over the country can come together, streaming directly from their homes to interact in a live class with an instructor who can give you immediate, personal feedback. Yes your WiFi connection needs to be consistent and you need a device that's able to stream, but there are now so many different platforms (such as Zoom) we can easily access to get our fitness in from home.
This interaction through group classes satisfies that social need we are missing, while still respecting the need for social distancing. Win.
But online classes are not just for quarantine...
As Move instructor Nicola Rock of Rock Fitness Yoga says, “Live-stream classes will still be perfect once everything goes back to normal. Busy parents, people who do shift work, and those who can’t leave the house will now have the opportunity to enjoy all the classes most of us take for granted.”
So, really, what we’re saying is that with a simple home fitness ‘kit’, you can be well on your way to really taking home workouts on - and this is certainly the case for a huge number of the classes available on Move At Home.
Of course, if you do fancy going a little further (and let’s face it, habits always build up don’t they?), then there are plenty of other kit options for new starters and intermediates. And if you’re really hardcore and feel like kicking it up to the next level, there is more specialized equipment too.
Best thing to do in the meantime though is discover what kind of classes suit you and your space to start with, then take it from there. Go for gold.